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Where wolf?

John Gallagher: Everyone knows I’m a werewolf, 7 April 2022

Old Thiess, a Livonian Werewolf: A Classic Case in Comparative Perspective 
by Carlo Ginzburg and Bruce Lincoln.
Chicago, 289 pp., £20, March 2020, 978 0 226 67441 4
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... a deep stratum of old peasant beliefs beneath the Christian façade of modernising Europe.Bruce Lincoln, Ginzburg’s co-author, has long been more sceptical about the Thiess case. He focuses on the social realities of early modern Livonia, as exemplified in the courtroom, where the powerful were almost all ‘members of the German elite who ...

Once upon a Real Time

Wendy Doniger, 23 March 1995

From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers 
by Marina Warner.
Chatto, 458 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 7011 3530 1
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... psychological), they are not built into the brain, and they can be changed. Moreover, as Bruce Lincoln has shown, stories do not merely reflect the eternal archetype or even the present Zeitgeist, but can subvert the dominant paradigm. Warner shows her awareness of both edges of this sword when she points out that, although traditional ...

Cultivating Their Dachas

Sheila Fitzpatrick: ‘Zhivago’s Children’, 10 September 2009

Zhivago’s Children: The Last Russian Intelligentsia 
by Vladislav Zubok.
Harvard, 453 pp., £25.95, May 2009, 978 0 674 03344 3
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... for a historian of Soviet culture to use this term (introduced into Russian history by the late Bruce Lincoln to describe the ministerial officials who in the 1840s, despite the conservatism of Tsar Nicholas I, managed to draft most of the great reforms implemented in the 1860s by his successor, Alexander II). Not only that, Zubok’s practice is also ...

The Land East of the Asterisk

Wendy Doniger: The Indo-Europeans, 10 April 2008

Indo-European Poetry and Myth 
by M.L. West.
Oxford, 525 pp., £80, May 2007, 978 0 19 928075 9
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... creation of the world from the body of a giant or proto-human killed and carved by the gods’, as Bruce Lincoln established twenty years ago. But more often, the patterns are found in a sub-group. A story told in the Welsh Mabinogion and in the Indian Mahabharata, about the search for the oldest animal, diverges on details such as the list of animals ...

Don’t Panic

Bruce Ackerman: States of Emergency, 7 February 2002

... National Convention and to liberate eight thousand Confederate prisoners at nearby Camp Douglas. Lincoln convened a military tribunal to punish these men, but the Supreme Court stopped the process cold. The conspiracy occurred in Indiana, which was not a war zone. Since the civil courts were open, the Justices unanimously required the President to take his ...

With What Joy We Write of the New Russian Government

Ferdinand Mount: Arthur Ransome, 24 September 2009

The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome 
by Roland Chambers.
Faber, 390 pp., £20, August 2009, 978 0 571 22261 2
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... killing in his name. Of course, other enthusiasts were to say similar things, then and later (Lincoln Steffens, the Webbs, H.G. Wells, Walter Duranty of the New York Times, Bernard Shaw), but it was Ransome who first coined those glowing phrases that lingered in the Western mind for so long. He was thus a valuable commodity, as his great friend Karl ...

What the hell happened?

Alexander Star: Philip Roth, 4 February 1999

I Married a Communist 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 323 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 224 05258 6
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... conversion to Communism while serving in World War Two; his impersonation of the gangly Abraham Lincoln at union events and his subsequent employment on popular radio shows in New York City; his marriage to the fading Hollywood actress Eve Fine, and the dreadful combustion of that marriage in a series of mutual betrayals that lead to the exposure of Ira’s ...

Think outside the bun

Colin Burrow: Quote Me!, 8 September 2022

The New Yale Book of Quotations 
edited by Fred R. Shapiro.
Yale, 1136 pp., £35, October 2021, 978 0 300 20597 8
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... the Oxford Dictionary. It had the North American bias implied by its title. It larged up Abraham Lincoln (69 quotations as against 16 in the 1979 Oxford), and was full of the kinds of remark that journalists might want to quote, then Google, and then guiltily think they ought to check in one of those old-fashioned book things. It’s also full of quotations ...

Winklepickers, Tinned Salmon, Hair Cream

Bee Wilson: Jonathan Meades, 14 July 2016

An Encyclopedia of Myself 
by Jonathan Meades.
Fourth Estate, 341 pp., £9.99, February 2015, 978 1 85702 905 5
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... Weasel, Otter. Why were people called Salisbury, Winchester, Chichester, Lichfield, Worcester, Lincoln? But not Gloucester, Canterbury, Exeter, Hereford, Peterborough, Ripon. When he asked his relentless questions, adults accused him of ‘time-wasting’ and accumulating ‘useless knowledge’. The boy felt this was simply a defence against their own ...

Kitty still pines for his dearest Dub

Andrew O’Hagan: Gossip, 6 February 2014

Becoming a Londoner: A Diary 
by David Plante.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 1 4088 3975 1
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The Animals: Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy 
edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 481 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7011 8678 4
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... who said that there was nothing more beautiful than the naked chest of a dead young man. Bruce Chatwin needs to give the impression that he knows everything, needs to be able to tell you, when you stop with him at an antique shop window off Bond Street, what factory the tea pot came from, and its date. In warning me that I may be basing my life too ...

White Sheep at Rest

Neal Ascherson: After Culloden, 12 August 2021

Culloden: Battle & Aftermath 
by Paul O’Keeffe.
Bodley Head, 432 pp., £25, January, 978 1 84792 412 4
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... and to the frightful doggerel of hastily composed odes. At the New Wells in Clerkenwell, ‘Miss Lincoln made her entrance in the role of Liberty. Urging England to “droop no more”, she reviled “the wretched, mean, enervate Race’ of Scots”.’ Handel wrote a tune for a loyal recruiting song (‘Stand Round, My Brave Boys!’) to be played at Drury ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2013, 9 January 2014

... performance. 4 February. I don’t imagine that my old Oxford supervisor, the medieval historian Bruce McFarlane, would be much exercised by the discovery of the body of Richard III, though there would be some mild satisfaction in finding the king exactly where the sources said he was. McFarlane wouldn’t have thought the body particularly informative as ...

You have to take it

Joanne O’Leary: Elizabeth Hardwick’s Style, 17 November 2022

A Splendid Intelligence: The Life of Elizabeth Hardwick 
by Cathy Curtis.
Norton, 400 pp., £25, January, 978 1 324 00552 0
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The Uncollected Essays 
by Elizabeth Hardwick, edited by Alex Andriesse.
NYRB, 304 pp., £15.99, May, 978 1 68137 623 3
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... biography of Hardwick, has the opportunity to set this right, to begin at the beginning.Elizabeth Bruce Hardwick was born in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1916, the eighth of eleven children. Her siblings became teachers, post-office clerks, beauticians, farmers, but Hardwick had larger aspirations. ‘How can you be from here and think like you do?’ a fellow ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!, 3 January 2019

... when I was in Cork in 1963. Rowse figures in it, having walked out from Oxford to Rycote with Bruce McFarlane during the war. Rowse here doesn’t obtrude or lay down the law, as he does in so much of what he later wrote, but just gives an account of Elizabeth I’s visits to the house and of the Norreys family who lived there. I leave it open on a chair ...

Sisyphus at the Selectric

James Wolcott: Undoing Philip Roth, 20 May 2021

Philip Roth: The Biography 
by Blake Bailey.
Cape, 898 pp., £30, April 2021, 978 0 224 09817 5
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Philip Roth: A Counterlife 
by Ira Nadel.
Oxford, 546 pp., £22.99, May 2021, 978 0 19 984610 8
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Here We Are: My Friendship with Philip Roth 
by Benjamin Taylor.
Penguin, 192 pp., £18, May 2020, 978 0 525 50524 2
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... one such dump, Roth joked, ‘a rat in a tuxedo greets you at the door’), attended concerts at Lincoln Centre. Their movie tastes were not aligned. ‘What do you see in all this Hollywood dreck, Ben?’ Roth wanted to know, ‘And why are you gay men so beguiled by Bette Davis?’ Yeah, Ben, what gives? Roth: ‘You don’t look twice at Ava Gardner, who ...

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